In the centre of France, on the Limagne plain and at the foot of the Puy-de-Dôme, Clermont-Ferrand, created from the merger of two former rival cities in the 17th century, Clermont and Montferrand, stands in the centre of a former volcanic circle. Follow our advice for visiting the city;
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption:
A majestic Gothic cathedral built on the summit of the central hill in Clermont-Ferrand, and with its southern forecourt overlooking the place de la Victoire. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption was completed by the architect Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc and took more than 800 years to build! Its main facade with its spires is around 100 m tall. It is carved out of Volvic stone (lava stone), which gives it its black colour, making it unique and emblematic, like its collection of stained-glass windows and murals.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Port:
The Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Port is another masterwork with UNESCO World Heritage status, and is a priceless example of Auvergne Romanesque art. It is one of the 5 major Romanesque churches in the Auvergne, whose interior, with its characteristic carved capitals, has been totally restored. Directly opposite, there is a viewpoint allowing you to admire the basilica better.
Place de la Victoire:
Lined with bars and restaurants with terraces where you can enjoy sitting out, the Place de la Victoire is the nerve centre of Clermont-Ferrand. Here you will find the Tourist Office, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption and the fountain of Urban II, the Pope who called for the first Crusade in Clermont in the 11th century.
The Rue des Gras:
Its name recalls the steps (“gras”) of the staircase which in former times ascended to the cathedral. At the other end, the Rue des Gras offers a superb view of the Puy-de-Dôme. Its many shops and distinctive lava stone facades make up the commercial centre of Clermont-Ferrand.
Thomas, a tourist adviser at Lyon Tourist Office, a Lyonnais by adoption and a Clermontois by birth will tell you that this pedestrianised street is the most beautiful in the city.
The Hôtel de Fontfreyde, a Renaissance masterpiece, is home to the Centre de la Photographie (where many superb temporary exhibitions are held with free admission!)
Place de Jaude:
This is THE major square of the city centre, busy, and full of people with its fountains, its booths and its famous statue of Vercingetorix on horseback (created by Bartholdi). Its Centre-Jaude shopping centre with 130 shops, restaurants and cinemas, makes it THE perfect place for shopping. The Saint-Pierre market, a stone’s throw away, is an indoor market which offers a lot of different produce from the Auvergne, in particular some great cheeses.
The Michelin adventure:
In one of the former industrial buildings of the famous tyre group, you can discover this epic tale, begun by the Michelin brothers in 1889, which traces the exceptional story of the Michelin family, forever changing the city. From the first removable tyre to the future lunar wheel, not forgetting the maps, the guides and the legendary Michelin Man. Experience the incredible Michelin adventure, through an original and interactive presentation!
Famous also for its rugby club, Clermont-Ferrand boasts a “theme park” which is unique in France dedicated exclusively to this sport. This immersive experience enables you to discover this legendary club and immerse yourself in its history, during a tour which is both cultural, fun and interactive.
More information available on Site de l'Office du Tourisme de Clermont-Ferrand